Mississippi John Hurt Speaks to Homeschoolers


Black blues/country/bluegrass musician Mississippi John Hurt died 43 years ago today. Born in either 1892 or 1893 (depending on which account you choose to believe) John Hurt began playing guitar at age 9. At age 36 he recorded an album on the OKEH label and then disappeared from the music scene until he was more than 70 years old. During all those years Hurt continued singing and playing guitar for local dances in rural Mississippi but he worked as a sharecropper and lived in musical obsurity.

He was “found” and brought back to the national music scene during the last 3 years of his life from 1963 to 1966 recording numerous albums and appearing on the Johnny Carson show. So think this through- this legendary musician worked manual labor and lived in musical obscurity his entire life with the exception of 1928, and the last three years of his life from ages 71-74. Yet he is remembered and revered as one of the great roots music musicians of the 20th century.

Sometimes the Lord chooses to have us work in obscurity for most of our lives. Sometimes our contribution isn’t really appreciated until we’re 70-years-old or even older. Sometimes it’s never appreciated. But the gifts that were imparted to us remain alive even when the spotlight isn’t on us. We are charged to use the gifts we’ve been given even if nobody’s watching.

Talk with your children about Mississippi John Hurt who died on November 2, 1966. Watch this remarkable video of a 70+ year old Mississippi John Hart singing “You Got to Walk That Lonesome Valley” and enjoy the gifts and talents of a man who spent most of his life as a Mississippi sharecropper.

(NOTE- Well, an hour of working with WordPress to successfully embed a YouTube video or even a link has been unsuccessful. SO- go to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and SEARCH using “Mississippi John Hurt Lonesome Valley” in the search box- THEN Watch the video! I suggest the 3:25 version instead of the 2:51 version.)


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